New climb and 53km time trial on the parcours
The route for the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné - one of France's most prestigious stage races and a key warmup event for the Tour de France - was revealed by race organisers ASO on Tuesday.
A picturesque prologue and a 53km time trial are key features of this year's race, as is the presence of a climb up the Grand Colombier in the eastern region of Ain. This climb will feature in the Tour de France for the first time in 2012 and the Critérium du Dauphiné will give riders the perfect opportunity for a dress rehearsal.
This year's seven stage event will run from June 3-10 and its roll of honour features some of cycling's biggest names: Lance Armstrong, Miguel Indurain, Greg LeMond, Bernard Hinault and Eddy Merckx have all triumphed in the race and a top class field is expected to be at the start line.
2011 winner Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) and reigning Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC) have all expressed their interest in competing.
2012 Critérium du Dauphiné route:
Sunday, June 3
Prologue: 5.7 km, Grenoble-Grenoble
Monday, June 4
Stage 1: 187 km, Seyssins-Saint-Vallier
Tuesday, June 5
Stage 2: 160 km, Lamastre-Saint-Felicien
Wednesday, June 6
Stage 3: 167 km, Givors-The Clayette
Thursday, June 7
Stage 4: 53 km (ITT) Villié-Morgon-Bourg en Bresse
Friday, June 8
Stage 5: 186.5 km, St. Trivier-on-Moignans-Rumilly
Saturday, June 9
Stage 6: 166.5 km, Saint-Alban-Leysse-Morzine
Sunday, June 10
Stage 7: 126 km, Morzine-Châtel
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